UU Trivia Question of the Day #34

Let’s talk about sex.  Specifically About Your Sexuality.  This was a sex-education program published in 1970 by the UUA.  These days it has been phased out in favor of Our Whole Lives, a much more comprehensive and up-to-date program.  But AYS had a long run, and was still in use nearly 30 years after it was originally published.

Naturally, About Your Sexuality eventually ran into some controversy.  In the late 1990s there was a very public attempt to sensationalize the church’s teaching of SEX to children by a television tabloid program.

What was it that was objected to most strenuously by some church parents, according to the program?

Extra bonus question: Who was the host of the failed tabloid show?

Extra, extra bonus question: What was the name of that long-forgotten show?



Filed under Liberal Religious History, Unitarian-Universalism

9 responses to “UU Trivia Question of the Day #34

  1. Patrick McLaughlin


    (Not sure about the rest…)

  2. Jeff

    Yes, that’s it, good work. Let’s wait to see if anyone gets the bonus questions.

  3. I don’t know if this is the show you’re remembering, but Bryant Gumbel aired a segment about a controversy over AYS at the First Parish in Concord, Mass., in 1997 that certainly caused some ripples. His show was “Public Eye” on CBS.

    I remember this vividly because I was hired as high school youth programs director at the church as the congregation was in the midst of the controversy that Gumbel “covered.” The episode aired in October 1997. Here’s a UU World story that mentions the Gumbel controversy and the transition from AYS to OWL.

  4. Specifically, I’m remembering a slide in a filmstrip with a guy tasting his own semen. I know we all needed to know that, but as a seventh grader in AYS, the slide is forever etched in my memory. In fact, at HDS, those of us who experienced AYS all remembered that slide and could sort of pantomime it.

  5. Jeff

    Ms. T, that slide (and quite a number of others) are likewise permanently etched in my memory as well.

    Philocrites: yup, that’s the rest of what I was looking for. Must’ve been an “interesting” time to be in that position.

  6. I am so sorry to hear that, Jeff, and yet relieved to know I’m not alone in the blogosphere with these memories.

  7. Jeff — occasionally I meet an adult who took AYS when I co-facilitate an OWL 7-9/10-12 training workshop.

    Most of them are surprised to see how “tame” the current OWL slides are in comparison to the AYS filmstrips.

    And most of them were disappointed in this reduction in explicitness and the move from photographs to drawings, too.

  8. Jeff

    I haven’t seen the OWL materials myself, but I had heard they were relatively tame. I’ve decided to do a journal article on the evolution of sex ed in UUism, I’ll probably be working on it next year. There’s a history and a theological relevance here that haven’t been adequately explored by people in Religious Studies.

    Funny thing about the explicitness: at exactly the time when AYS was being criticized for being explicit and replaced by the far tamer OWL, the internet became widely available in private homes and brought extremely hardcore porn to the masses. I guarantee most if not all UU kids will have seen stuff way more explicit than AYS by the time they get out of school, courtesy of their parents’ computers (or their friends’ parents’ computers).

  9. That last statement is funny ’cause it’s true. I dunno, the drawings were bad enough, and the change from explicitness…if I remember correctly, aren’t most of the OWL slides just sketches of the AYS pictures? It’s still real people, just drawings. I mean, there’s no one tasting their own semen…but what would be the theological or educational relevance of that?

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